India reported 412,262 new Covid-19 cases today, which is currently the highest number of positive cases to be reported in 24 hours, according to Indian Health Ministry statistics. The population is suffering from the second wave of the pandemic, and in the past 30 days, India has reported 8.3 million cases.
In the wake of the 3,980 Covid-related deaths announced today, India’s Madhya Pradesh state has extended its lockdown until May 15. “We can’t close down everything for long. We have to make people’s life easy. Therefore, till May 15, we should close down everything. Strictly follow Janata curfew and break the chain of infection,” said the state’s Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The curfew means that all weddings and large gatherings are banned for the rest of May, even if they had been planned to be socially distanced events. Chouhan shared that local authorities and volunteers will be responsible for enforcing this curfew and that more changes will be implemented to slow the spread of Covid-19.
As of tomorrow, a financial package will be revealed to provide medical care to any Covid-19 patients from a poor or middle-class background. Chouhan warned that anyone that charges a patient more than the required fee for Covid-19 treatment will be punished and claims, “we have started investigations.” Chouhan hopes that this support will help heal the population and prevent deaths.
Vaccines became available to the public in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, and anyone above the age of 18 is eligible. The U.S. government sent supplies valued at over $100 million to India last week to help combat the surge, including enough manufacturing supplies to create over 20 million AstraZeneca vaccines.
President Biden banned most travel to the United States from India on April 30 as an attempt to limit the spread in both countries. It is unclear when the ban will be lifted, but Biden has made it clear that his administration will continue providing necessary support to India during this time. Vice President Kamala Harris commented, “As it relates to the people of India, we have a long-standing, decades-old relationship with India, particularly when it comes to public health issues.”
The U.S. government is not alone in providing aid to India. According to the ministry, Mauritius sent 200 oxygen concentrators, Russia sent 20, the U.K. sent four shipments totaling 669 concentrators, Romania sent 80, Ireland sent 700, Thailand sent 30, China sent 1,000, Uzbekistan sent 151, and Taiwan sent 150. Currently, India has received 3,000 oxygen concentrators that are being pushed through customs to make their way to the hospitals that need them.
Contrary to rumors about supplies being stalled in customs, the ministry released a statement saying, “The oxygen concentrators are either delivered to the identified tertiary care institutions or been dispatched for delivery. There are no oxygen contractors lying in the warehouse of the Customs Department.”
As of today, there have been 155 million reported cases of Covid-19 and 3.24 million deaths worldwide. Since the beginning of the pandemic, India has recorded 21.1 million cases, second only to the United States, which has reported 32.6 million. India’s leaders are hoping numbers will go down once lockdown goes into full effect and vaccines are administered.